Archive for Secrets & Lies – Page 2

I’m Fine

I'm FineYou visit your mother and she mentions a little ache in her lower back. In her seventies, she still rises early to stretch. The brisk walk with Cosmo the dog comes next, and then a sensible breakfast for both of them. But there is that ache. She’s taking more Advil, and has less energy in the afternoons. Because of that “little” pain, not even naps seem to give her enough rest.

And you ask, since you love her, “Is everything okay? Should you see your doctor?”

“Oh, I’m fine!” she says.

Nearing your golden wedding anniversary, your husband often appears short of breath. He’s never been into exercise regimes, and has one of those metabolisms everyone hates. At seventy-two, he can put on the tuxedo worn when you celebrated 25 years of marriage. Now, while doing yard work, his breathing is occasionally labored. You notice he wakes at night more frequently for bathroom trips . . . but he (and his prostate) are getting older. However, on several occasions he didn’t immediately return to bed, but sat on the chair by the closet.

In the dark of the bedroom, you ask, “Are you okay?” Read More →

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In Hospice, Let the Lie Die

Image from “The Killing.” Actors Liam James and Mireille Enos.

Why do we lie?

Or is it fair to label the hopeful words exchanged between parents and children, between spouses, between friends, as deceitful?

Not long ago, I watched the final episodes of “The Killing,” a gloomy Seattle-based cop show. In a tense scene between Sarah Linden—a single mother and detective—and Jack, her oft-neglected teen son, she reassured him, “Nothing will ever happen to me.”


Sure, it’s only television, and grim or not, it’s over in a cleverly scripted forty plus minutes. Given that the dour Linden was a main character, she may survive every calamity concocted by the writers. Nonetheless, what a TV mom said to her son has been repeated with similar words in endless shows, plays, and movies: nothing will ever happen to me. Read More →

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The Guy From Hospice

[NBC Photo] From the “Parenthood” January 2015 episode . . . “How Did We Get Here?”

[NBC Photo] From the “Parenthood” January 2015 episode . . . “How Did We Get Here?”

The family knew I was coming.

They waited in an alcove along the hospital’s hallway, a handful of steps from where the woman lay in a bed. They’d claimed the two chairs and one sofa in the cramped space. A few leaned against the wall. Several of the youngest adults sat cross-legged on the hospital’s polished floor.

I probably would’ve hurried by the cluster of people in the alcove if they hadn’t flagged me down. I might’ve smiled and nodded at them, but my focus was on a particular room on this particular floor where a potential hospice patient anticipated my arrival.


One of the people on the sofa—let’s say a fifty-something woman wearing dangling earrings and a jogging suit—stood and blocked my path.

“Are you the guy from hospice?” Read More →

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